2109-146 Avent Ferry Rd
Raleigh, NC 27606
Review Date: June 23, 2007
Reviewers: John Davis, Jody Hamilton-Davis, Trish W., Beth Levine, Nick V., Shirley Phillips, Gary Jordan
Abyssinia is an Ethiopian restaurant, located in the Mission Valley strip mall. Seven of us went there on a warm Saturday evening in June.
We had reserved a table and were seated right away. There was only one waitress on duty that night, and there were a number of people eating there, which caused service to be spotty. We ordered drinks and water when we first were seated but it took almost an hour for them to be delivered. Several of us had been to Abyssinia on previous occasions and while the service is normally slow, this was extreme. If there had been two wait people that evening it probably would have been better. There were several tables filled with people and another large group, which made it difficult for the waitress to keep up.
The dining room is fairly small with African artwork on the walls. The tables are plain and functional, and there is a slight scent of incense in the air. One reviewer complained of a lack of soap and paper towels in the men's room.
The reason to go to Abyssinia despite the limitations on service and the lack of ambiance is for the food. The reviewers almost all rated the food highly. Abyssinia offers a limited number of vegetarian appetizers and entrees, but their piece de resistance is a vegetarian (vegan) combination platter that includes split lentils in berbere spices, cracked yellow peas, collard greens, green beans, salad and pickled cabbage all served on injera bread, with additional injera on the side. The platter is available in a small or large size, and there is a $3.99 "sharing" fee if two people share a platter. Rather than using utensils you eat the food by taking small pieces of injera and scooping the food up with it. The injera is flat and spongy in texture, with a slight sourdough taste. They do not serve you silverware unless you request it.
They also offer a couple of appetizers made with injera, which are buttered and covered with berbere, and a lentil sambusa. One of the reviewers had the sambusa and compared it to a vegetarian samosa from an Indian restaurant, with a lentil filling. Upon request, vegetable oil can be used in place of butter in at least the Katagna appetizer.
You can call ahead to order, which helps with the time. Their menu can be viewed at www.abyssiniarestaurant.net. Abyssinia has excellent food. It's well worth going there when you have some time to spend and enjoying their vegetarian combination.